Q&A and development image

March 17, 2015
We recently had a new forum member ask some good questions about Ground Branch that I thought would be good to bring more attention to.
1. AI.  What can we expect from AI performance? will friendly character’s instinctively dig corners, pick up security, not run in front of your muzzle, follow directions ect. And will the enemy act more like a live role player? Run and hide, spray and pray around corners, be distracted, investigate noise ect.

AI is still a bit out, but Epic is doing some really nice things with their built in AI solution. Its not just bots anymore. :)

We certainly plan to have our AI react as humanly possible given our resources and time though.

2. Weapons. Im assuming the selection will replicate a highly funded and completely supported special missions unit like the SOG, but what about the
details? examples, a BAD lever making your reloads quicker (because they do) suppresors NOT making “damage” lower (because they dont) sub sonic ammo making the report quieter but reducing velocity and perhaps accuracy at certain ranges ect.

We are not setting out to make a huge arsenal of weapons. Modders will take care of that for sure. We will have a pretty standard set covering Pistol/SubMachineGun/AssaultRifle/Shotgun/LightMachineGun/Sniper/Explosive

We don’t plan on including any “active” reload situations or random fouling sorts of things. Yes, that stuff does happen in real life, but we feel its just an annoyance in a a game and just frustrates people for no reason. Attachments will have actual impact on the weapons/ammo as well. They won’t be just for show.

3. Breaching. Please tell me work is going to one of the most vital areas in a direct action game. Will there be different charges to choose from and have the appropriate effect?  Will it be an option giving tactical leverage to the assault force, or just an amenity to add to the look which apparently RS siege has done.

We are planning on having extensive breaching capabilities for doorway entry…. including breaching shotguns, charges, kicking and other. We have even prototyped a way to allow players to block doorways from being breached. Not sure if that will make it in or not.

What we probably won’t have much of is arbitrary wall breaching and things like that. That isn’t an area we have the resources to tackle.

4. mission planning. Will we be able to plan the assault? and if so how detailed?

Mission Planning is up in the air at the moment. For CoOp, the plan is to have a pre-mission planning phase where live players can work out their “x’s and o’s” together, but planning for SP a’la Rainbow Six may be out of the scope of GB for now.

5. Sound. Different sounds for shooting indoors and outside? a small thing but would make a noticeable difference to the authentic feel im sure you would agree.

I’m not sure if we will have the budget to record different sounds, but we definitely have environmental settings that process sound based on indoor/outdoor. It all depends on how much funding we can get. :)

6. Tactics. Goes along with AI but is there a realistic approach or a “user friendly” action oriented approach. A better way to word this I guess would be. Are you going to feel like your conducting an actual raid, or just run and gunning at a slower pace becasue you go down in one hit? I hope that question makes sense

I guess that’s up to you and how you play I think. Ground Branch is not designed as a run ‘n gun game simply by the shoot/move mechanics and the way weapons work. We aren’t a sim though so we strive to make things as streamlined as possible. We don’t want you thinking about controls and key combos during play.

7. Maps. I think I already know assuming, but are we going to see some diversity. This is representing a unit that has no operational area, because its on a global scale. Can we expect to see this in the maps we play? As well as the likely CQB settings of houses, offices, industrial areas, schools and public places?

Yes there will be plenty of diversity. There will be locations all over the world…. think R6 in this respect. ;)


And now some art.

We have a few art assets that has been around for a while, so I thought it a good time to start updating some things. Ground Branch will have frag, smoke and flashbang grenades…. even with various colors of smoke.



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A small request with a big return

February 23, 2015

As some of you know, one of my good friends Tom (our very own MONOLITH on the forums) is a very good writer. He has taken upon himself to do what he can to help our soldiers that are deployed away from home. Tom has started a project called Words For Warriors to send free books to those service members.

Please take a moment and help Tom out if you can.



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Welcome to 2015

January 6, 2015

If you are still with us, and why wouldn’t you be…. welcome to 2015 with BlackFoot Studios! We have a feeling its going to be a really great year around here so we hope you keep hanging on and enjoy the ride. It’s going to start  gaining some speed here soon. ;)

John starting working on the official Ground Branch Steam store page today! That is actually a pretty important milestone as it signals the start of moving into more of a public phase for Ground Branch. On that note, we are looking for some professional (either actual experience or work quality) to help out on the graphics side of things for the page. It’s going to be important to start off with a professional appearance so I’d like to do it right. If you think you would be able to help for reduced rates or even barter a bit, let us know as soon as you can.

We have also got around to setting up a public bug tracker so people can help out by submitting bugs once the demos are available. That is getting tested out by a private group as I type this.

On the game side of things Kris has been busting ass with getting things stable and features more completely implemented. He has also got the first pass of character and weapon configurations in and working. This includes the in game UI and saving/loading out actual constructed configs.

On the art side the existing training maps have received one more pass for visuals and some more detailing work. John has also started working on the main demo map that will be used to show off various gameplay features to get people interested in the upcoming Early Access. Sort of a ‘try before you buy’ for the Early Access. It’s a reworked version of the warehouse map that was shown in the UE3 screenshots and videos. We will use this map as a “proving ground” for gameplay types and features throughout development.

So we hope everyone had a great holiday and safe New Year. It’s time to get back to work!

John & Kris

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New look!

November 30, 2014

As you can see we have overhauled the site to be a little more streamlined. As we start to move into the next phase of the life of Ground Branch we thought it appropriate to give everything a “fresh coat of paint”. We will begin to update the content in the near future as well.

We would like to thank our contributor Zoog for all his hard work!

– John & Kris

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Somethings coming and here is a preview

September 14, 2014

So we are getting pretty close to releasing something public….. No really!

We plan to release a sort of tech demo in the next few weeks to serve a couple of purposes. First is to allow us to figure out the “packaging” process for a public release and to make sure we can deliver a public build that works. UE4 is a lot different than UE3 in many ways so there is a lot of learning on our part still. Secondly is to get an idea of performance characteristics with various performance settings and to see how an area with specific design characteristics works on various machines.

To be clear, this is not Ground Branch the game. There is no “game” in this release. It is a small purpose built area that shows off the density of map design, foliage density, lighting setups and various effects. You can walk around and shoot a weapon, but there is no purpose or “mission”.

Here is a screen from the editor of part of the area:



We really want to have solid and playable releases for Ground Branch. This is the first step in getting there and an actual playable build….. and that isn’t to far away. :)

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Team Rooms

August 15, 2014

I know we seem to be going slow (We are :) ), but I thought I’d show something I’ve been working on lately….. Ground Branch will use the concept of a ‘Team Room’ as a place to start the game from. It is here where you will customize your gear, set up missions, receive and go over intel as well as hang out with teammates before, during and after MP and co-op missions. There will also be oppurtunities to customize your Team Room as well.

One part of your Team Room is the Operations Room that is shown here. This is where the Intel/Mission magic happens and every one of these monitors/screens will be interactive for various purposes. This is a clean unaltered screen grab from the editor and I’m sure you can get an idea of what some things do just by looking around. ;)

TeamRoom_01We are using an HTML/JavaScript based UI system for the interactive screens so there are some really unique possibilities we are exploring.

We know the pace is slow… much slower than we would like, but we are still here and still committed to Ground Branch!


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Friends of BlackFoot Studios

July 11, 2014

We are proud of the community that we have built here at BlackFoot Studios. We have people from all over the world contributing and being active on a regular basis. Many types of personalities and backgrounds come together and are generally pretty civilized. :)

I have had the pleasure of personally meeting some of these people over the years and have become good friends outside of just BFS and game development. One of those is our very own MONOLITH and his family….. Tom Reinhart is an exceptionally talented individual who, much like myself, has decided to follow a dream. His dream is writing and as it turns out he is damn good at it. Not only is he good at it, but he is a true creative. By that I mean that he doesn’t write just to write, but he writes and develops stories and characters from the heart. Every word he puts on paper has meaning. They just are not stories, but honest feelings.


I’ll admit, I am not a big reader. But Tom’s stories are engaging and keep me going until the end. They are easy reads but full of depth and complexity. Take a minute and check out what my friend Tom has been up to…. you won’t be disappointed. I sure haven’t been!


– John

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Extended video footage

July 3, 2014

Some may be aware that the Rain/Effects video from last week was actually cut short by about 5 minutes due to some audio synch issues. I had to cut out a section that demonstrated a few more effects:

After many painstaking steepness nights (not really :) ), I have since been able to compile that cut footage into a new video for your enjoyment!

Please be aware(I mention it a lot) that everything you see is in progress stuff and really just first iterations of things that will get a lot of attention as time goes on.

There are 2 things of particular note with this video though…… 1) There is no weapon recoil as it was disabled while fixing up some shooting mechanics. So don’t panic! 2) The flashbang emits a high pitched ringing when it goes off. So please adjust your volume accordingly when watching (there is an on screen message in the video about it).


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Rain down on me

June 27, 2014

While we were sorting out some programming/middleware issues I thought I’d start working out some of the weather systems for Ground Branch. We are starting off with rain but will will also be adding in snow as well.

Of course, it goes without saying, but this is all early work that will definitely get better as we go. The most exciting thing to me is everything in our game effects gameplay. It might be subtle at times, but nothing is in there just for “fluff”. Playing in a heavy rain map will alter your strategy from a bright sunny day version. Its just not for show.

At the moment this is all settings inside the map, but I would like to transition it to more of a realtime solution. We’ll see how that goes……..

We know development can be slow, but hang in there. It will all be worth it eventually. :)



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New wallpaper

May 27, 2014

We have a new wallpaper available courtesy of DetCord, a friend of BFS. Feel free to download, use, pass around or whatever you feel like. :)









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